Essential Home Maintenance for the Summer

Essential Home Maintenance for the Summer

With summer approaching, there are a lot of important maintenance tasks to consider for your home in Highland Park, Illinois. From tuning up your air conditioner for warm weather comfort to cleaning up the kitchen for your seasonal guests, proper maintenance will help you create a space that’s comfortable and welcoming during this laid-back time of the year.

Seal Your Home

Sealing gaps and cracks around the home is a regular task that you should tackle at least once a year. Properly sealing your home before summer hits Illinois is a smart way to keep the worst of the heat out. Carefully inspect the walls around the exterior of your house. Look for cracks around the baseboards and gaps beneath windows and doors. Seal cracks with caulk to keep air from slipping through.

Use weatherstripping around windows and doors. If you have existing weatherstripping, check it for signs of cracks and damage. You’ll need to install fresh weatherstripping every few years.

Schedule HVAC Maintenance

Your air conditioner requires regular maintenance to deliver cool air efficiently. Ideally, you’ll schedule your tune-up for early spring before the height of cooling season. However, if you haven’t had maintenance performed on your system within the last 12 months, you should make your appointment as soon as possible.

During this visit, your service technician will clean and adjust internal components for the best performance and clue you in to any signs of pending repair needs. This is also a great time to address any heating or cooling questions you might have.

In addition to professional maintenance, you should also note regular DIY maintenance on your calendar. Once a month, look at your air filter to see if there’s a visible build-up of dust and dirt. Change your filter if it looks dirty or if it’s been three months since your last change.

Tackle Dust Bunnies

Dust is a common irritant that can hide in many sneaky places throughout your home. Start the season right by digging out those dust bunnies and giving your home a thorough cleaning.

Vacuum or sweep under beds, behind furniture and in the backs of closets. This will keep your air as clean as possible to help ease those common summer allergies. If you’re still suffering, consider installing an indoor air cleaner to eliminate irritants in the air.

Set Up Drop Zones

During the summer months, you’ll likely have some extra traffic running through the house. Kids and pets may bring in pollen, grass, dirt and other unwanted things from their adventures outdoors. Address this problem early by setting up drop zones at the beginning of the season.

Place a basket, table, or shelf near the front and back doors to collect shoes. Keep towels handy in these areas to wipe off sweat and rain, and also as buffers between your pet’s dirty feet and the floor.

Deep Clean the Kitchen

Prepare for the busy days of summer by giving your kitchen a little extra TLC. Before you host those cookouts and pool parties, it’s handy to create a fresh, clean space for meal prep.

Take care of those tasks that are easily neglected, such as washing the range hood and filter, cleaning the refrigerator door gasket, and scrubbing grout. Pull out appliances to scrub the floor beneath. Clean your cabinets for a fresh and organized approach to summer.

Wash the Windows

Springtime can leave your windows with an unwelcome film of pollen and dirt. Make sure you have a beautiful view of the sunny days outside by thoroughly washing your windows. Clean your windows inside and out, addressing the window tracks, frames and panes.

As you’re working, pay attention to any signs of damage, such as condensation in the glass. Damaged windows will decrease energy efficiency and cause your air conditioning bills to rise.

If you haven’t scheduled your summer HVAC maintenance yet, call Roberts Heating and Air Conditioning at 847-562-5292. We’ll make sure you’re prepared so that you can enjoy a cool, comfortable summer.

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5 Ways to Save Money on Hot Water

5 Ways to Save Money on Hot Water

Water heating is a large part of the utility bill for most families in Glenview, Illinois. Fortunately, you can save money and energy by following these tips for conserving hot water:

Add Insulation to Your Pipes

Insulating your hot water pipes saves energy and lets water arrive at the faucet warmer. That way, you won’t have to wait as long for the water to get hot before you take a shower. You can insulate exposed pipes in your basement by yourself. But you should get help from a professional to take care of pipes inside walls or crawlspaces.

Adding insulation to an older water heater can also help you save energy. Just don’t cover the thermostat or the air inlet for a gas water heater. Newer models should already have enough insulation.

Upgrade Your Water Heater

If your water heater is more than 15 years old, replace it before an inconvenient breakdown. Because newer models are more efficient, an upgrade for your water heater will eventually pay for itself through energy savings. Tankless or solar water heaters are especially economical.

A tankless water heater needs less space, so your home will have more places for storage. You also won’t need to worry about running out of hot water. Many solar water heaters don’t need any electricity from sources outside your home. A radiant heating system uses hot water to make the floors in your home warm and comfortable, helping you save energy on heating and hot water.

If you’re not ready to replace your water heater, you can make it more efficient by adding a timer. When you and your family members are asleep or away, your water heater will shut off automatically to save energy.

Maintain Your Water Heater

Sediment builds up in most water heaters over time. You should have yours drained by a professional at least once every six months.

Lots of sediment can force your water heater to work harder, shortening its life and increasing your utility bills. A service technician will turn off the water and power to your heater for safety and make sure that you have no hidden problems. If you have a gas water heater, he or she will also switch the burner to the pilot setting before draining the tank. Having your water heater checked often will prevent hazardous leaks and help you save money and energy. There’s no need to drain a tankless water heater, but you should still schedule an inspection regularly.

Turn Down the Thermostat

Turning down the temperature on your water heater’s thermostat helps you save energy and reduces the risk of accidental burns. First, check the temperature with a thermometer to make sure your water heater’s thermostat is accurate. Turn it down and wait for a couple of hours. Then, measure the water temperature again from the same faucet. You might need to adjust the water temperature a few times to get it right.

Use Less Hot Water

Warm baths and long, hot showers can use too much hot water. You can save money and time by taking shorter showers and turning off the faucet while you’re shaving, brushing your teeth or adding soap.

You can also upgrade your faucets and shower heads to low-flow models with aerators. They mix water with air to increase the pressure and conserve water, and they’re inexpensive and easy to install. Use the economy setting on your dishwasher for more savings, and skip pre-rinsing dirty dishes too. When you do laundry, use cold water to save money and keep water that’s too hot from damaging delicate clothing.

Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning is a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer with more than 35 years of HVAC experience. We can help you install, repair, and maintain a variety of heating and cooling equipment, including water heaters. Call us anytime at 847-562-5292 for excellent, friendly service from one of our expert service technicians.

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Why Does My Thermostat Setting Not Match My Home’s Temperature?

Why Does My Thermostat Setting Not Match My Home’s Temperature?

In a well-maintained home, your HVAC system will keep you comfortable in any season in Northbrook, Illinois. If this isn’t the case, it’s important to investigate the issue thoroughly. Upgrading your equipment or scheduling a maintenance call helps. Don’t ignore a thermostat that’s malfunctioning, though. It could signal more serious and energy-draining issue in your home.

Your Thermostat Placement is Wrong

Proper placement is a critical consideration with any new thermostat installation. Your entire heating and cooling system will turn on or off based on the temperature reading in this one location. It’s important to make sure that your thermostat placement is:

  • Away from direct sunlight
  • In a central part of the home
  • In a dry area with no humidity from showering or cooking
  • On an interior wall
  • Exposed to ready circulation and not in a closed room

If you want to truly make the most out of your thermostat, you must install this component in the right part of the home. If it’s in the wrong spot, you’ll ind that the further reaches of your home are dramatically hotter or colder than your thermostat setting. Our service technicians can help you identify the best place to install your thermostat for more accurate temperature management.

You Have a Large Home With One Zone

If you have a larger home, it’s unlikely that you can locate any one spot that’s an accurate representation of all the possible temperatures throughout your living space. The better solution is to install a zoned HVAC system that manages your home in multiple zones. As a result, you can channel more energy toward your kitchen, dining and living areas during the day, and focus on keeping the bedrooms cool at night.

If you choose to stick with a single zone, you don’t have to stay with just one thermostat. There are some systems that will coordinate the readings of multiple connected thermostats throughout the home to accurately determine the average temperature across all your rooms.

Your HVAC System Isn’t Properly Sized

If your air conditioner or furnace is too large or small for your home, your thermostat will face an impossible battle attempting to manage your temperature. When your system is too large, it;ll achieve the desired temperature quickly in some parts and cycle off before properly heating or cooling others. If your system is too small, it’ll run continuously without achieving your thermostat settings.

Ask about sizing considerations during your next tune-up. You should service your system at least once a year for optimum performance. This is a good time to make sure you’re working with an HVAC system that’s neither too big nor small for your needs.

Your Furnace or Air Conditioner Needs Repairs

An inability to maintain set temperatures in your home is a key indicator of a furnace or air conditioner that’s failing. If your home is consistently hotter or colder than your desired setting, you should schedule a repair visit as soon as possible to diagnose the underlying issue.

The Thermostat Isn’t Reading Properly

If your heating and cooling system is operating properly but you’re still not enjoying your preferred HVAC settings, the thermostat itself might be the problem. A key part of your preventive HVAC maintenance is checking to make sure the thermostat is calibrated properly.

Over time, the calibration tends to skew in one direction or another. If you’re overdue for system maintenance, the thermostat might operate inaccurately.

Use an independent thermometer to check the temperature in your home near the thermostat. If the reading is off by more than a degree, schedule a service call.

If you’re not getting proper heating or cooling in your home, it’s important to schedule a heating or AC repair as soon as possible. Call Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning at 847-562-5292 to book your appointment now.

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Optimize Your Smart Thermostat Now for Winter

Optimize Your Smart Thermostat Now for Winter

Frigid temperatures and snowfall will be here before you know it. That makes now the ideal time to turn your Glenview, Illinois, home into a cozy oasis. From setting a heating schedule to managing indoor air quality, follow these steps to optimize your smart thermostat for winter:

Set a Heating Schedule

When you switch your HVAC system from cool to heat, take time to set an efficient heating schedule. At Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning, we recommend setting the thermostat to 68 degrees when your family is at home and awake to enjoy the warmth.

When you’re at work and the kids are at school, dial back the temperature by 8 to 10 degrees. Set the thermostat to about 58 degrees overnight, too.

By doing this, you’ll save up to 10 percent a year on your utility bill. You’ll also help your HVAC system run smoothly for as long as possible, since you’ll be giving it a break for at least eight hours a day. After all, your heating system doesn’t have to work as hard when your home’s indoor temperature is closer to the temperature outside.

While you can adjust the temperature to stay warm during the winter, resist the temptation to make frequent manual changes. Instead, program your family’s optimal heating schedule into a Côr Wi-Fi Thermostat ahead of time. Then sit back and relax as your HVAC system automatically keeps you comfortable all winter long.

Optimize HVAC Zoning

If you’ve already invested in HVAC zoning, which divides your home into two or more temperature zones, you’re already well on your way to optimal comfort during the winter.

With a smart thermostat like the Infinity Remote Access Touch Control, you can control every HVAC zone in your home from one central location. This smart device can handle up to eight zones. It even offers a custom naming option. You don’t have to walk over to the thermostat to adjust the settings for each zone, though. Just log in to the smartphone app and make adjustments on the go.

Monitor Energy Usage

Winter is the prime time for decreasing your household energy consumption, and your smart thermostat can help. Most smart devices allow you to track your energy usage, so you can easily spot patterns.

Check your smart thermostat’s energy reports at least once a month. You’ll easily identify days of the week or certain times of day when your family’s energy consumption spikes. Use what you’ve learned to reprogram your smart thermostat and keep your energy usage as low as possible.

Manage Indoor Air Quality

When the temperature falls below freezing, your family is more likely to spend additional time indoors. If you struggle with any lingering indoor air quality issues at home, such as low humidity, dust or mold, this is the time to address them.

Fortunately, your smart thermostat can help. The Côr Wi-Fi thermostat can manage your home’s humidity level for optimal health and comfort, while the Infinity Remote Touch Access Control can monitor humidity, ventilation and other indoor air quality add-ons.

Stay On Top of Reminders

A smart thermostat can do more than just keep you comfortable and help you save energy. These handy devices can also ensure that you never forget a maintenance appointment and always replace the air filter on time. Some thermostats will even remind you when it’s time to check the humidifier or replace the bulb in your ultraviolet (UV) lamp.

To make sure your smart thermostat helps your HVAC system maintain optimal energy efficiency, set the device to issue reminders based on system run-time. That way, you’ll get the most out of every component without running into efficiency issues.

Whether you need a hand with optimizing your smart thermostat or you’re in the market for a device with more bells and whistles, our team is at your service. Contact Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning for all your HVAC needs at 847-562-5292.

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Performing HVAC Maintenance Before Winter Fully Hits

Performing HVAC Maintenance Before Winter Fully Hits

Winter is almost here, and it’s already feeling brisk in Glenview, Illinois. Fortunately, it’s not too late to schedule your HVAC maintenance before winter fully sets in. There’s also plenty you can do on your own to prep your HVAC system for another season cold yet comfy season.

Change the Air Filters

The start of a new season is the perfect time to change your home’s air filters. Since filters become dirty and clogged over time, you should aim to change them at least once every three months. If you have multiple pets, you may want to change them more often.

Remember, just because you don’t see an actual clog doesn’t mean the filter isn’t dirty. Always err on the side of caution, and replace it with a new one on a regular basis.

Check the Thermostat

Thermostats don’t stay calibrated forever. Any accidental bump or dust accumulation can mess up the calibration. Now’s a good time to test the thermostat and check its settings.

To check a thermostat’s calibration, tape a glass tube thermometer to the wall a few inches from the thermostat. Since you don’t want it to touch the wall, pad it with some paper towels before taping it down. Wait 15 minutes for the mercury thermometer to stabilize, then read it.

Compare the thermometer’s reading to the thermostat’s temperature. If they’re off by more than one degree, you’ll need a professional HVAC service technician calibrate the thermostat.

Invest In an Air Conditioner Cover

While you don’t need to keep your exterior AC unit covered all winter long, it’s important to protect it from storm damage. Make sure you’ve purchased a suitable cover.

The unit is designed to stand up to extreme temperatures, including layers of frost and snow. But if it’s encased in a thick layer of ice, the coil fins, blades and other components can damage.

Your HVAC system is one of your home’s biggest investments. You want to take care of it properly and make sure it’s protected from blizzards, ice and falling debris.

Invest in a specially designed AC cover, though. Never wrap the unit in plastic and duct tape, because a DIY wrap can encourage rodents and other pests to take up residence. This can also encourage mold growth, so choose a suitable cover and use it wisely.

Prevent Wasted Energy

The key to staying warm and cozy all winter is in preventing energy from escaping and letting the cold air in. Reduce your seasonal energy bills by performing a simple checklist throughout the home. Cover your water heater with an insulating blanket, update your programmable thermostat as needed, insulate water pipes and search for air leaks.

Whenever you feel a draft inside the home, look around for causes. You may need to add weatherstripping, upgrade to more efficient windows or simply stuff a rolled-up towel underneath a door to prevent heated air from escaping.

Schedule Your Annual HVAC Maintenance

While there’s plenty you can do to prep your HVAC system for winter, nothing replaces professional HVAC maintenance. Nobody understands the ins and outs of home heating and cooling like the experts. Schedule an appointment before that first snowstorm hits to make sure you’re well prepared.

Scheduling your yearly HVAC service before winter is also a smart way to prepare for the coming season. An HVAC service technician can spot any potential problems that can lead to system breakdowns in the middle of a harsh winter night. Since you’ll have time to take care of these issues before extreme weather sets in, you won’t find yourself without heat when your family needs it most.

Don’t put off your pre-winter HVAC prep any longer. Perform as many DIY tasks as possible to get your system ready for the coming season, and call the experts at Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning at 847-562-5292. With our heating services, we’ll help you and your family stay toasty warm all winter long.

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4 Questions to Ask Your Service Technician During HVAC Maintenance

4 Questions to Ask Your Service Technician During HVAC Maintenance

You should schedule a service technician to visit your home at least once a year for a regular HVAC maintenance. Keeping up with maintenance in your Glenview, Illinois, home helps you lower utility bills, minimize the need for repairs, and extend the lifespan of your heating and cooling system.

While your service technician is on hand inspecting your system, you have a great opportunity to bring up any concerns you might have. Asking the right questions during your HVAC maintenance visit helps you make the most of your system throughout the year.

How Can I Best Program My Thermostat?

Today’s smart thermostats have many handy features. Unless you devoured your user manual page-by-page, you’re probably missing out on a few handy settings or tricks to make better use of your system. Don’t hesitate to ask your service technician for his or her take on the best way to manage your home comfort.

During your maintenance visit, our service technicians will inspect your thermostat carefully to make sure it’s working well. As they’re checking to make sure the readings are correct, they can also give you a quick tutorial on how your thermostat works.

If you have a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the temperatures by the time of day and day of the week so you’re not using it as much when no one is home. Using the best temperature settings for each situation helps you cut back on your energy expenses without suffering from extreme heat or cold.

What’s That Noise?

Whether your system is making a brand new noise or you’re simply concerned about a hum that you’ve heard for a long time, your HVAC maintenance visit is a great time to get some clarification. Many noises are early warning signs of a pending problem that may need a repair. Though your technician should spot any issues in the course of his inspection, it never hurts to point out what you’ve noticed since you live with the unit everyday.

You may also learn that a seemingly suspicious click or whir is perfectly normal. This eases your concerns and helps you sleep a little sounder knowing there’s nothing to worry about.

Where Is My HVAC Filter?

If you don’t know where your filter is and how to change it, now is the time to ask. Our service technicians change your filter as part of the standard maintenance process, but this is something you should do on your own between visits.

It’s generally recommended that you change your HVAC filter at least once every three months. If you have a lot of dust, dander and pollen around your home, you may want to increase the frequency to as often as once a month.

Your service technician can also offer some tips for choosing the right filter for your next change. He or she will let you know what size you need and what MERV rating is best for your system and home.

How Can I Increase My Comfort?

If you’re struggling with any discomfort issues related to your home’s temperature, humidity or air quality, let us know. We can offer helpful solutions that can make you more comfortable in your everyday environment.

If you’re having trouble with allergens and irritants, we can explore air purifiers and cleaners with you. If you’re dealing with high or low humidity levels, a whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier might help. Ventilators help you battle stale air, and a duct sealing can eliminate hot and cold spots around the house.

Our service technicians understand that no two homes are the same. We work with you to come up with custom solutions that keep you comfortable in any weather. Whether you’re looking for a way to battle dry and itchy eyes or you want to figure out why your living room is always a little too cold, we can help.

If you’re overdue for your annual air conditioning or heating maintenance visit, give Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. a call at 847-562-5292 to schedule your appointment. We’ll get your system in top shape and offer friendly answers to all your questions.

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